Source: Built to Last, by Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras.
After reading this book, my perspectives regarding what it takes to build visionary companies/organizations have changed. In this book, Collins shattered many of the management myths that exist in the world of business, as following:
Reality: Most of the visionary companies started without any specific idea, or outright failures. Collins mentioned the parable of the tortoise and the hare to illustrate that visionary companies often had a slow start, but they win in the long run.
Reality: Collins said that this type of leaders is not required and, in fact, can be a liability to the company's future. Visionary companies need clock builders, not time tellers.
Reality: Visionary companies also need money to be able to continue operating, but their reasons for existence is beyond making money.
Reality: There is no "right" set of "correct" core values. The important thing is they have a set of deeply held core values and they are consistent in alignment to those values.
Reality:The visionary companies never, or very rarely, change its core ideology, its reason for being. It fiercely preserve the core idealism, while stimulating the progress and change of any other things beside that to adapt to the changing environments.
Reality: Visionary companies may appear conservative from the outside but they are not scared to make bold commitments to "Big Hairy Audacious Goals".
Reality: "There is no middle ground." "You will either fit extremely well, or be expunged like a virus."
Reality: The visionary companies tend to discover their best moves through experimentation, through trials and errors. They keep doing what work well, and discard what do not work.
Reality: Most of the CEOs of the visionary companies were groomed within the companies, and they are the ones who truly understand and believe in the preserved core values.
Reality: The visionary companies are not motivated by comparing themselves with others or by fear of being left behind. They are motivated by the desire of wanting to always become better, and they can never feel they have done enough or they are good enough.
Reality: They believe in being able to get BOTH and not EITHER ONE.
Reality: Making a visionary statement is just one of the thousand steps necessary to become visionary companies.
So, in order to build a visionary company, what kind of mechanisms need to be there? What kind of leader should one become? What are the myths that are commonly believed by society which are wrong, and what are the correct things to believe?
I am inspired to apply these concepts for the rest of my managerial career:
1. Be a clock builder
2. Embrace the “Genius of the AND”
3. Preserve the core/stimulate progress
4. Seek consistent alignment